In re: Hodges, No. 17-1434 (Fed. Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The 222 Application, entitled “System and Method for Operating a Drain Valve,” is directed to a valve assembly for draining contaminants, condensation, and other fluids that adversely affect the efficiency and function of a pressurized system. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board affirmed the examiner’s rejection of all claims as anticipated (35 U.S.C. 102(b)) and/or obvious (35 U.S.C. 103). The Federal Circuit reversed as to anticipation, finding the holdings not supported by substantial evidence, and vacated the obviousness determinations. The Board’s strained interpretation of “signal” was unreasonably broad and inconsistent with the 222 application. The Board did not provide an adequate evidentiary basis or explanation for its determination that the claims would have been obvious.